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                 "DOES THE LORD'S HOUSE LIE IN RUINS?"

                             Haggai 1:1-15


1. About 600 years before Christ, Judah was taken captive to Babylon...
   a. Jerusalem with its temple was plundered and burned
   b. Seventy years later, the Jews were allowed to return

2. It was the Lord's intention that the Jews rebuild the temple...
   a. He stirred up Cyrus of Persia to let them do this - Ezr 1:1-5
   b. But once the people returned to Jerusalem, other things began to
      take precedence

3. God then sent Haggai to the Jews with a simple message...
   a. The message was "Build the temple!"
   b. The message has an application for the church today

[Turning in our Bibles to Hag 1:1, let's take a closer look at...]


      1. "The time has not come for the Lord's house to be built" - Hag
      2. Their reasoning can be inferred from Hag 1:3-4
         a. They were too busy building their own homes!
         b. They put building their own homes before the Lord's house!
      3. Their attitude is made clear in Hag 1:9b
         a. While the Lord's house lay in ruins...
         b. ...every one was concerned with their own home!

      1. "Is it time to dwell in paneled homes while the temple lies in
         ruins?" - Hag 1:4
      2. The Lord's challenge: "Consider your ways!" - Hag 1:5
         a. Things had not been going well - Hag 1:6
         b. They should have been building the temple - Hag 1:7-8
      3. Because they had put building their homes before the Lord's
         a. They prospered little; what little they had the Lord blew
            away - Hag 1:9
         b. The Lord even called for a drought in judgment upon them
            - Hag 1:10-11

[The preaching of Haggai proved successful; in reverence the people
obeyed and completed the construction of the temple (Hag 1:12-15).
Since this was written for our admonition (1Co 10:11), let's now


      1. Not the building of a physical structure
         a. For God does not dwell in temples made with hands - Ac 17:24
         b. The temple of God is now the church - cf. 1Co 1:2; 3:16-17
      2. Though a spiritual structure, God's temple is still undergoing
         a. The foundation is the work of Jesus, apostles and prophets
            - Ep 2:19-22
         b. It grows as people are converted by the preaching of the
            gospel - 1Co 3:5-9
         c. It grows internally as those converted do their part - Ep 4:
      -- So we have a similar task to "Build the temple!" (a never-
         ending task)

      1. Does the Lord's house lie in ruins, while we run to our own
         a. The Lord's house (the church) does lie in ruins if we...
            1) Allow other things to keep us from doing our part to
               evangelize the lost
            2) Neglect to do our part in edifying the body of Christ
         b. Whatever our abilities and opportunities, we have a
            responsibility in the building of the Lord's house today
            1) It may involve teaching or serving - Ro 12:3-8; 1Pe 4:
            2) It may involve going or sending - Ro 10:14-15
         c. Through exercising our abilities we can build the temple of
            God today; otherwise the Lord's house will lie in ruins!
      2. Is it time to dwell in paneled homes, and let the Lord's house
         lie in ruin?
         a. Evidently some think so, if they say:  "I will serve the
            Lord as soon as I..."
            1) "...finish my schooling"
            2) "...get on top of the responsibilities of my job"
            3) "...raise my children"
         b. In each case, is not the bottom line the same?
            1) The Lord's house lies in ruin
            2) While we go about our own way with our own lives
         c. In Haggai's day, it was not time to put other things before
            the Lord's house; nor is it time to do so today!
            1) We must put the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33
            2) We must put the Lord first - Mt 10:37-39
      3. Might we need to "consider our ways"?
         a. Are things not going the way they should?
            1) Perhaps there is a divine reason for the "drought" in our
            2) Perhaps the Lord in His providence is telling us
         b. If we will put the Lord and His kingdom (house) first...
            1) God will provide our necessities - Mt 6:31-33
            2) God will multiply our seed for sowing - 2Co 9:6-11
         c. If we neglect the Lord's work...
            1) We won't have God's providence helping us
            2) We may even experience God's loving discipline - cf. Hag
               1:9-11; 1Co 11:31-32; He 12:5-11


1. We saw that the Jews took to heart the message of Haggai - Hag 1:12

2. What we did not stress was the Lord's response:  "I am with you, says
   the LORD." (Hag 1:13)
   a. The phrase "I am with you" is interesting
   b. It is similar to the promise made by Jesus in the Great Commission
      - Mt 28:18-20

3. Thus we have the assurance that if we observe all that Christ
   a. He will be with us always
   b. Even as God was with Israel

Yet this blessed assurance is for those who do not let the Lord's house
lie in ruins while they dwell in paneled homes.  Are you doing your part
to build the Lord's house?
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